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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Events » » Other Events » » Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival
Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival
AceExplorer
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2468
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2018-08-15 10:33 am   Permalink



http://www.donsmaitaifest.com/

THIS WEEKEND, August 18th, 2018!

10th Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival
Celebrate the legendary Mai Tai cocktail at the Festival’s 10-year anniversary on August 18, 2018. This year’s Mai Tai Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever! Watch as over 20 of the world's top bartenders converge on the Big Island of Hawaii to mix it up in a battle for the title of World’s Best Mai Tai and a $10,000 cash prize.

Festival Highlights include:
Mai Tai Marketplace: Shop for crafts and island treats from local artisans and merchants from 11am-4pm

Battle of the BBQ: Taste and vote for Hawaii's best barbecue from 11am-2pm

Pool Party: Listen to live music from local Hawaiian artists by the pool from 2:30pm-4pm

Mai Tai Mix-off: From 4:30pm – 7:30pm watch bartenders from around the world vie
for the title of World’s Best Mai Tai and cash prizes. First place winner receives
$10,000, second place winner receives $5,000, and third place winner receives $2,500.


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AceExplorer
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2468
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2018-08-19 1:35 pm   Permalink

So this year's Mai Tai event happened yesterday, and here's some press coverage. One of the bartenders really loves Bacardi. Fortunately the writer spoke with another bartender who underscored the importance of balance and not going the "too sweet" route, but then the same bartender hilariously states that the Mai Tai "is as Hawaiian as the luau is..." I'm fine with that. We've appropriated Polynesian stuff and morphed it, so it's kinda fun to see that some in Hawaii have appropriated mainland mid-century stuff themselves and adopted it. The Mai Tai is a great cocktail. I'm sure the event was fun.

Article originally found here
http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2018/08/19/hawaii-news/locals-celebrities-get-a-taste-of-famous-drink-at-annual-mai-tai-festival/ and pasted below in its entirety for posterity.

Locals, celebrities get a taste of famous drink at annual Mai Tai Festival
By ELIZABETH PITTS West Hawaii Today | Sunday, August 19, 2018, 12:05 a.m.



KAILUA-KONA — Aaron Sanchez and Sam Choy have a few things in common. They both hold the title of celebrity chef and they both have an appreciation for a famous tropical drink: the mai tai.

Where they differ is on what makes a great mai tai. A prominent figure in Hawaiian food culture himself, Choy’s preferences lean toward the classic, sweeter side of the things.

“To me, the perfect mai tai is a basic mai tai,” Choy said. “The real, pure mai tai is starting off with good products, like Bacardi rum, and from there, just layering it up right to where it should be, and then topping if off with more rum and that’s it. That’s the perfect mai tai. And I personally like sweet mai tais. I love things sweet.”

Sanchez, a newcomer to the annual Mai Tai Festival in Kailua-Kona, disagrees on how sweet a mai tai should be.

“There are a lot of parallels between food and cocktails,” Sanchez said.

“Balance is obviously essential. I look for a cocktail to first be able to taste the spirit that’s expressed. But then have enough ingredients that support and lift that spirit up. And really keep it in check and balance the sweetness. I think because we’re in this beautiful setting of Kona, the tendency is to make a cocktail too sweet. And that’s always a bit of a pitfall. I always appreciate a cocktail that’s not too sweet.”

Differences aside, as judges for the Mai Tai Mix-off at the 10th annual Mai Tai Festival held at the Royal Kona Resort, both chefs had plenty of opportunities this weekend to find that perfect drink. As a part of the show “MasterChef,” Sanchez is used to judging food, but his first time at the Mai Tai Festival gave him the chance to try something new and more potent.

“The mai tai is revered. It is as Hawaiian as the luau is, or a ukulele,” Sanchez said. “I want to take the idea of reinterpreting a classic staple, and having fun with it, but not sacrificing its core idea. And I do that with Mexican food. I’ll take classic dishes, tweak them with modern technique, but not sacrifice the identity.”

Like a good wine pairing, a mai tai also needs the perfect food to go with it.

Sanchez offered up his expertise in that department.

“I think the idea of having a bunch of pupus, some fresh tuna and some pineapple with it is good,” Sanchez said. “I always love to reintroduce ingredients that are in a cocktail, so give me some pineapple and some chipotle-rubbed chicken breast, and I would make a salad out of that to go with it.”

The idea for the festival and competition to find the “World’s Best Mai Tai” came to Gary Hogan, property owner of Royal Kona Resort, about 15 years ago while on a Hawaiian Airlines flight that was advertising a similar contest.

“I saw they had a mai tai contest, and the first place was a trip to Las Vegas, and I thought it was a great idea,” Hogan said.

“And we had the name for Don the Beachcomber, the original trademark, and I thought first place should be something that really attracts people. So I turned to my team and said let’s do first place for $10,000.”

The festival is now a yearly staple for Kailua-Kona and its inhabitants who love a good party and a good cocktail.

“It’s really for the people, the Mai Tai festival,” Choy said.

“The bartenders are probably the celebrities of the event, but the people that come here and enjoy it, it’s good for them. They’ve got the barbecue, they’ve got the pool party with Henry Kapono, and then the mai tai competition is like the halftime show at the Super Bowl.”


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tikiskip
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 4943
Posted: 2018-08-19 1:46 pm   Permalink

"One of the bartenders really loves Bacardi"

Or is one of the bartenders paid in some way to really love Bacardi?
_________________


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2468
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2018-08-19 2:06 pm   Permalink

Skip, I had the same thought. Sponsors really can influence these "contests." I would personally have been unable to enter a contest and tout Bacardi in general unless I was using one of their truly higher-quality and better pedigreed rums. There are just too many other noteworthy and meritorious rums out there to hold the Bacardi banner too high.

Here's the result of the contest - I found it on the sister newspaper's web site in the body of a more insightful version of the report:

When the last shaker was put down and the last drink sipped, the first place winner was Justin Park of Bar Leather Apron in downtown Honolulu. Kevin Beary of Three Dots &A Dash in Chicago took second, and third place went to Cory Starr, also of Three Dots &A Dash."

Kevin Beary took first place last year, so to show up second this year is still very respectable.

Full article, and all 8 photos at the very end, are posted below to preserve this for posterity. Someone in 2083 is gonna wanna know this stuff when plotting the next great tiki revival in the late 21st century.

Article found at:
http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2018/08/19/hawaii-news/locals-celebrities-get-a-taste-of-famous-drink-at-annual-mai-tai-festival/

Locals, celebrities get a taste of famous drink at annual Mai Tai Festival
By Elizabeth Pitts West Hawaii Today epitts@westhawaiitoday.com | Sunday, August 19, 2018, 12:05 a.m.
KAILUA-KONA — Aaron Sanchez and Sam Choy have a few things in common. They both hold the title of celebrity chef and they both have an appreciation for a famous tropical drink: the mai tai.

Where they differ is on what makes a great mai tai. A prominent figure in Hawaiian food culture himself, Choy’s preferences lean toward the classic, sweeter side of the things.

“To me, the perfect mai tai is a basic mai tai,” Choy said. “The real, pure mai tai is starting off with good products, like Bacardi rum, and from there, just layering it up right to where it should be, and then topping if off with more rum and that’s it. That’s the perfect mai tai. And I personally like sweet mai tais. I love things sweet.”

Sanchez, a newcomer to the annual Mai Tai Festival in Kailua-Kona, disagrees on how sweet a mai tai should be.

“There are a lot of parallels between food and cocktails,” Sanchez said. “Balance is obviously essential. I look for a cocktail to first be able to taste the spirit that’s expressed. But then have enough ingredients that support and lift that spirit up. And really keep it in check and balance the sweetness. I think because we’re in this beautiful setting of Kona, the tendency is to make a cocktail too sweet. And that’s always a bit of a pitfall. I always appreciate a cocktail that’s not too sweet.”

Differences aside, as judges for the Mai Tai Mix-off at the 10th annual Mai Tai Festival held the Royal Kona Resort, both chefs had plenty of opportunities this weekend to find that perfect drink. As a part of the show “MasterChef,” Sanchez is used to judging food, but his first time at the Mai Tai Festival gave him the chance to try something new and more potent.

“The mai tai is revered. It is as Hawaiian as the luau is, or a ukulele,” Sanchez said. “I want to take the idea of reinterpreting a classic staple, and having fun with it, but not sacrificing its core idea. And I do that with Mexican food. I’ll take classic dishes, tweak them with modern technique, but not sacrifice the identity.”

Like a good wine pairing, a mai tai also needs the perfect food to go with it. Sanchez offered up his expertise in that department.

“I think the idea of having a bunch of pupus, some fresh tuna and some pineapple with it is good,” Sanchez said. “I always love to reintroduce ingredients that are in a cocktail, so give me some pineapple and some chipotle-rubbed chicken breast, and I would make a salad out of that to go with it.”

The idea for the festival and competition to find the “World’s Best Mai Tai” came to Gary Hogan, property owner of Royal Kona Resort, about 15 years ago while on a Hawaiian Airlines flight that was advertising a similar contest.

“I saw they had a mai tai contest, and the first place was a trip to Las Vegas, and I thought it was a great idea,” Hogan said. “And we had the name for Don the Beachcomber, the original trademark, and I thought first place should be something that really attracts people. So I turned to my team and said let’s do first place for $10,000.”

The festival is now a yearly staple for Kailua-Kona and its inhabitants who love a good party and a good cocktail.

“It’s really for the people, the Mai Tai festival,” Choy said. “The bartenders are probably the celebrities of the event, but the people that come here and enjoy it, it’s good for them. They’ve got the barbecue, they’ve got the pool party with Henry Kapono, and then the mai tai competition is like the halftime show at the Super Bowl.”

Only a special drink can drum up that much enthusiasm to celebrate it, and Hogan believes the festival is about more than just the mai tai. It’s to celebrate the Hawaiian islands as well.

























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